Parents work hard to develop, or instill, positive beliefs and values in their children. Interestingly, there's no corresponding word for when parents pass down their bad habits.

Instill comes from the Latin verb stillare, meaning "to drip." For some people, this word provides an apt metaphor for the way that parents and teachers cultivate understanding in young learners, patiently introducing wisdom "drop by drop." (Of course, for others, instill conjures up the image of a persistently dripping faucet that just won't be quiet.)

Definitions of instill
  1. verb
    impart gradually
    “Her presence instilled faith into the children”
    synonyms: transfuse
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    impart as if by breathing
    type of:
    add, bestow, bring, contribute, impart, lend
    bestow a quality on
  2. verb
    produce or try to produce a vivid impression of
    synonyms: impress, ingrain
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    type of:
    affect, impress, move, strike
    have an emotional or cognitive impact upon
  3. verb
    teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions
    synonyms: inculcate, infuse
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    instill (into a person) by constant repetition
    type of:
    teach by repetition
  4. verb
    fill, as with a certain quality
    synonyms: impregnate, infuse, tincture
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    type of:
    fill, fill up, make full
    make full, also in a metaphorical sense
  5. verb
    enter drop by drop
    instill medication into my eye”
    synonyms: instil
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    type of:
    enter, infix, insert, introduce
    put or introduce into something
Word Family

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